St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) is the Cathedral of Venice, located in the beautiful St. Mark’s Square, in the sestiere of San Marco. SHORT HISTORY A first church dedicated to San Marco was built in 828 by Doge Giustiniano Partecipazio next to the Doge’s Palace, to house the relics of the Saint stolen, according to tradition, from Alexandria, Egypt, by two Venetian merchants. This church replaced the previous Palatine chapel dedicated to the Byzantine Saint Theodore, built in correspondence with the current Piazzetta dei Leoncini, north of the current Basilica of San Marco. The church, consecrated in 832, was destroyed by fire during the revolt of 976 against Doge Candiano IV, and was rebuilt in 978 by Doge Pietro I Orseolo. The current basilica dates back to 1063, and was begun by Doge Domenico Contarini and continued by Domenico Selvo and Vitale Falier. The consecration of the basilica took place in 1094. The golden mosaic decoration of the interior was completed at the end of the 12th century, while the narthex (atrium) which surrounds the entire western arm of the church was built in the first half of the 13th century. Also in the 13th century, the Read more [...]
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, is the cathedral of Padua, located in the Piazza Duomo, in the historical center of the city. SHORT HISTORY According to tradition, the first cathedral of Padua was built after the Edict of Milan from 313. Originally, the church was dedicated to Saint Justina, but following one of its reconstructions, from 462 or 602, it was dedicated to Saint Mary. In 1075, Bishop Olderico consecrated a new cathedral, built on the ruins of the previous one. This basilica was destroyed by the famous earthquake of January 3, 1117. Following the earthquake of 1117, a new cathedral was built on the project of the architect Macillo. The cathedral was consecrated on April 24, 1180. The new church stood in the area of the current cathedral, having the same orientation. In 1227, the bell tower was rebuilt and, between 1399 and 1400, the bishop Stefano da Carrara carried out some restoration works and built the cross vaults. On January, 1551, the church approved the project of the illustrious Michelangelo Buonarroti for a new presbitery. The Michelangelo project was completed and inaugurated by the bishop Federico Cornaro on April 14, Read more [...]
Palazzo della Ragione is an imposing palace in Padua, located in the historical center of the city, between the Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta. The palace is famous for having the largest roof unsupported by columns in Europe. SHORT HISTORY The construction of the palace dates back to 1219, and was intended to house the courts of justice and financial offices of the city, a role it played throughout the Venetian domination, until 1797. The current shape of the palace is due to Frà Giovanni degli Eremitani who, between 1306 and 1309, raised the large hull-shaped roof and added the porch and the loggias covering the stairs. The roof was redone with larch trusses, without central columns and was covered with lead plates. On August 17, 1756, a tornado devastated the large building, destroying its roof and uncovering it. Bartolomeo Ferracina, engineer of the Republic of Venice, best known for the construction of the clock in Piazza San Marco, rebuilt the imposing structure. The courts of justice were transferred from the palace in 1797, and the hall was opened for large popular gatherings, anniversaries and parties. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The hall on the upper floor of Read more [...]
The Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua is the most important Catholic church in Padua and one of the largest in the world. The church, dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, is visited every year by over 6.5 million pilgrims, making it one of the most revered shrines in the Christian world. Saint Anthony of Padua was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. He was born and raised in Lisbon, and died in Padua on June 13, 1231. He was one of the most quickly canonized saints in church history. SHORT HISTORY In the Middle Ages, this place was located in a peripheral area of the city of Padua. Here, there was the small Church of Santa Maria Mater Domini, where Saint Anthony stayed for over a year between 1229 and 1231. When Saint Anthony died on June 13, 1231, his body was transfered to this small church and buried there, following his desire. Soon, many miraculous phenomena were recorded around his grave and pilgrims began to arrive first from the nearby districts and then from beyond the Alps. The canonical process took place in the Cathedral of Spoleto on May 30, 1232, where Pope Read more [...]
Basilica Palladiana is a palace in Vicenza, overlooking Piazza dei Signori, inextricably linked to the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. The architect redesigned the Gothic Palazzo della Ragione by adding the loggias with the famous white marble serliane. A serliana, also known as a Palladian window, is an architectural motif popularized by Andrea Palladio, which consists of a window with three openings, the central one arched and wider than the lateral rectangular ones. Once the seat of the public magistrates of Vicenza, the Palladian Basilica is today equipped with three independent spaces, used to host architecture and art exhibitions. The building was included in 1994 in the UNESCO World Heritage Site City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto. SHORT HISTORY Palazzo della Ragione was built around the middle of the 15th century according to a project by Domenico da Venezia, incorporating two pre-existing public buildings. The Gothic facade of the palace was made of diamond-shaped red and yellow Verona marble, still visible behind the loggias. The building was the seat of the public magistrates of Vicenza and, on the ground floor, it housed a shop gallery. Adjacent to the building is the Bissara Tower, 82 meters in Read more [...]
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunciata is the beautiful Cathedral of Vicenza, located in the historical center of the city, in Piazza del Duomo. The church, dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto. SHORT HISTORY Studies carried out in the second half of the 20th century attest to the presence in the 3rd century AD of a Christian place of worship, housed in a pre-existing Roman building of the 1st century. After the Edict of Constantine of 313, a small church was built here, which was rebuilt later, in the second half of the 5th century. Around the year 600, the first bishop of Vicenza, Oronzio, replaced this church with a larger, rectangular one with three naves. Around the year 1000, the church, now the cathedral of the city, was enriched by a complex of three apses. The church was damaged by the terrible earthquake of 1117, and it was once again replaced by a larger one with five naves supported by pillars and arches. The cathedral was damaged again in 1236, this time during the sacking of Vicenza by Read more [...]
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Matricolare, also known as the Duomo di Verona, is the cathedral of Verona, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. SHORT HISTORY The first Christian church in Verona was built in the 4th century on the place of the current cathedral. This ancient church had three naves with a raised presbytery and a baptistery. In the 5th century, the primitive church was flanked by a second, larger. Both of these structures were razed to the ground by the earthquake of 1117. The construction of a new cathedral was begun in 1120, and was completed in the year 1187. On September 13 of the same year, the church was solemnly consecrated by Pope Urban III. Over the centuries, especially in the 15th and 16th centuries, the church undergone several alterations. The facade dates back to the 16th century. The bell tower was raised up to about 30 meters by the architect Michele Sanmicheli and brought to its present height, of about 75 meters, only in the early 20th century. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the cathedral is divided into three parts. In the center, there is a porch with the lower part in white Read more [...]
Arena di Verona is a Roman amphitheater located in the historical center of Verona, in Piazza Bra. The Arena is one of the best preserved amphitheaters in the world, thanks to the systematic restorations carried out since the 16th century. SHORT HISTORY The Arena was built around the year 30 AD, in an area outside the city walls. In 265, the Roman Emperor Gallienus decided to built a new stretch of wall, 550 meters long, to finally include the Arena. The amphitheater was slowly abandoned in the following centuries, due to the affirmation of Christianity and the consequent end of the gladiatorial games. During the reign of Theodoric the Great, at the beginning of the 5th century, some shows were held in the Arena, from which many chronicles of the time attributed the construction of the amphitheater to him. However, the most serious damage to the amphitheater was done by the same King Theodoric, who demolished a greater part of the outer ring of the Arena, and used the material to build another section of the city walls. Other damages to the amphitheater were due to natural disasters, among which the flood of the Adige river of 589, the Read more [...]
Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore is a magnificent church in Verona, dedicated to Saint Zeno, an early Christian Bishop of the city. One of the Romanesque masterpieces in Italy, the church develops on three levels, and the current structure dates back to the 11th century. SHORT HISTORY It is believed that Saint Zeno of Verona died between the years 372 and 380, and tradition has it that he was buried near the place where the basilica rises today. A first church was built in his honor above his tomb, and by 589, the structure was already restored and enlarged. At the beginning of the 9th century, Pepin of Italy, King of the Lombards, decided to build a larger and more beautiful church, and that the body of the old one to be transformed into a crypt. The consecration of the new building took place on December 8, 806, while on May 21 of the following year, the body of Saint Zeno was moved to the crypt. It seems that the church suffered considerable damage during the Hungarian invasions that took place between 899 and 933, and the city decided to rebuilt it. The reconstruction was commissioned by Bishop Raterio, Read more [...]
The Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is one of the largest churches in Venice, and one of Italy’s most important Franciscan sites. The church, commonly known as the Frari, is located in the homonymous Campo dei Frari, in the sestiere of San Polo. SHORT HISTORY The first church built on this place dates back to the first half of the 13th century, when the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor received a piece of land in the area. Soon, the church proved too small and, in 1250, the papal legate, the cardinal Ottaviano Ubaldini, laid the first stone of a new larger church. Around the year 1330, the architect Jacopo Celega began working on a third church, which was completed in 1396 by his son Pier Paolo. The bell tower of the church was built in 1936, the Chapel of San Marco was added in 1420, the Chapel of San Pietro in 1434 and the facade was finished in 1440. The church was consecrated in 1492, and the portal, surmounted by three statues, work of Lorenzo Bregno, was built in 1516. In the 19th century, the Franciscans were banished from the church, where they returned only in 1922. Read more [...]
Saint Mark’s Campanile is the bell tower of the St. Mark’s Basilica, located in the beautiful St. Mark’s Square, in Venice. The bell tower is by far the most important attraction of the city and one of the most famous symbols of Italy. SHORT HISTORY On the place where the bell tower stands today, there was a watchtower or a lighthouse built in the 9th century. The structure was remodeled in the 12th century, and again in the 14th century, during which architects from Holland and France were called to reinforce the building. The tower, already seriously damaged in 1489 by lightning, which destroyed its wooden cusp, was seriously hit by an earthquake in March 1511, making it necessary to start its consolidation. The works, initiated by the architect Giorgio Spavento, were carried out under the direction of the architect Pietro Bon, and were completed on July 6, 1513, with the placement of the gilded wooden statue of the Archangel Gabriel. Over the centuries, many interventions were made to the tower, often to repair the damage caused by lightning. Due to its height and the iron structures that reinforced it, the Campanile was a natural lightning rod. Finally, in Read more [...]
With 88,620 square meters, Prato della Valle is the largest square in Europe and one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. The current configuration dates back to the late 18th century and is characterized by a central elliptical island, called Memmia island, surrounded by a canal on whose banks is a double ring of statues, with an outer circumference of 1450 meters. SHORT HISTORY In the Roman times, the area was known as Campo Marzio, named after Mars, the god of war, because it was used as a place for military meetings. Since the 12th century, various shows and games have been documented in Prato. From 1257, horse races are held here to commemorate the liberation from the tyranny of Ezzelino III da Romano. In 1310 a more extensive intervention in the area was carried out under the guidance of Fra Giovanni Eremitano. Between the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century, the town’s forgery was built near the Prato. During the 15th century, an imposing palace was built on the northern corner of Prato, as the residence of Cardinal Bessarione, now known as Palazzo Angeli. In 1498, the old Basilica of Santa Giustina Read more [...]
The Scrovegni Chapel (Cappella degli Scrovegni), dedicated to St. Mary of the Charity, commissioned by Enrico degli Scrovegni and frescoed between 1303 and 1305 by the painter and architect Giotto di Bondone, is one of the most important masterpieces of Western art. Since 2006, the Scrovegni Chapel has been nominated to become the second UNESCO World Heritage Site in Padua, the first being the 16th century botanical garden. SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 14th century, Enrico Scrovegni, a rich Paduan banker, had bought a land in Padua, in an ancient Roman area, to build a sumptuous palace and a chapel that will be used as a family mausoleum. For painting the chapel, he comissioned the Florentine Giotto, who started the work in 1303 and finished it before March 25th, 1305, when the chapel was consecrated. Giotto painted the entire inner surface of the oratory with a unitary iconography, helped by a team of about forty employees. Palazzo Scrovegni was demolished in 1827 to obtain precious materials and make room for two condominiums, and the chapel was officially acquired by the Municipality of Padua. Immediately after the purchase, the condominiums were demolished and the chapel was restored. In Read more [...]
There are many churches in Venice, and many are beautiful, but few impress like the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. It may be the place, because not many churches have their own island, or it may be the bell-tower, probably second in height after the one in the Saint Mark’s Square, but we can easily believe that, among all, the inspiration of Andrea Palladio matters probably the most. SHORT HISTORY In 982, the Doge Tribuno Memmo donated the island of San Giorgio Maggiore to a benedictine monk, who will establish here a monastery. The church, built five years later, from brick and wood, will last until 1223, when it will be severely damaged by an earthquake. The Doge Pietro Ziani will fix it, only to retreat to the island a few years later. In 1109, the relics of St. Stephen will be brought here from Constantinople, and the annual celebration held on 26 December, on the saint’s day, will become one of the most popular Christian holidays in the Venetian calendar. The church we see today was begun by Andrea Palladio in 1565 and completed after his death, in 1610. The one who finished the project was, apparently, Vincenzo Read more [...]
When you are looking at the Giudecca Island, from Zattere, your eyes are attracted by the splendid creation of Andrea Palladio, Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore or, commonly known, Il Redentore (The Redeemer). The church impresses at first from the distance, thanks to its massive structure, but only in front of it you will be able to discover the details that complete one of the most valuable architectural creations of the Venetian Renaissance. SHORT HISTORY After the plague epidemic of 1575-1577, that killed over 50,000 Venetians, the Senate of the Republic decided to build a church to celebrate the end of the scourge and to thank the Divinity. The mission was entrusted to the great Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, who was to begin the construction in 1577 and to leave it, after his death in 1580, to Antonio da Ponte, who would complete it many years later, in 1592. After the church was finished, the Venetian Senate established that every July, a pontoon will be built to link Zattere with the Giudecca island. In time, this tradition will become an important celebration for the Venetians, known as Festa del Redentore. ARCHITECTURE Considered the most beautiful church built by Palladio, Read more [...]
On the southern bank of the Grand Canal, near to its end leading to St. Mark’s Basin, one of the most beautiful churches of Venice, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, was built in the 17th century. A symbolic picture of the floating city, that appears in many of the documentaries about Venetian architecture, but also in many paintings left by famous artists such as Michele Marieschi, Francesco Guardi, John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert and, of course, Canaletto. SHORT HISTORY After the plague of 1630, which is said to have killed nearly a third of the population of Venice, the Venetian senate decided to build a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After a competition between several architects of that time, the project was entrusted to the young Baldassare Longhena. The construction began in 1631, but the soil was not solid enough to support this massive structure, and the church was to be completed very late, not until 1687, five years after Longhena’s death. Every year, on November 21, Festa della Madonna della Salute is celebrated. The Venetians build a bridge over the Grand Canal, from San Marco to Dorsoduro, where locals go to worship the Virgin Mary, and Read more [...]
Looking at the Bridge of Sighs from Ponte della Paglia, we can still imagine Casanova going over the Rio di Palazzo, from the prison to the Doge’s Palace, sighing for freedom. The Venetian adventurer, who was arrested in 1755, would escape a few months later from prison, but for many others, this route over the Bridge of Sighs probably offered the last glance to the outside world. SHORT HISTORY The Bridge of Sighs (“Ponte dei Sospiri”, in Italian) was built at the beginning of the 17th century by Antonio Contino, on the order of the Doge Marino Grimani. Antonio Contino, the successor of another famous architect, Antonio da Ponte (the creator of the Rialto Bridge), has built between 1600 and 1603 this baroque construction from white limestone to link the New Prison and the Doge’s Palace, where the prisoners were taken to be judged. The bridge became famous in the 19th century because of Lord Byron, who painted it romantically in a poem called Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Over time, the Bridge of Sighs will become a well-known Venetian symbol with bitter-sweet connotations, mixing the suffering and the desire for freedom of those who crossed it, with the hope of Read more [...]
To get to know the supreme expression of Venetian culture, whether you are attracted to architecture, painting, sculpture or all together, a visit to the Doge’s Palace is imperative. Although we are often tempted to recommend the discovery of Venice on narrow streets and hidden canals, early in the morning or late in the evening, we can equally say that visiting Venice without seeing the Doge’s Palace, in the middle of the day, inside and outside, can be considered a missed visit. SHORT HISTORY Initially built of wood in the 9th century, the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) was rebuilt several times afterwards, acquiring the form we see today between 1340 and 1424, with the construction of the Great Council Chamber under the supervision of the architect Filippo Calendario. After that period, new constructions have been added to the palace, under the care of Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon (father and son), of which we can remember the Porta della Carta, the main entrance that directs visitors to the inner courtyard. After a major fire that occurred in 1483, the inner courtyard will be rebuilt in a Renaissance style by architect Antonio Rizzo. The exterior of the white and pink marble Read more [...]
St. Mark’s Square is so famous that it does not need yet another presentation. A collection of religious, cultural, historical symbols, and a symbol in itself, this square is the dream of millions of tourists who are preparing for the road. Whoever you ask about Venice, or even better about the most important place in Venice, well, that person would give you one answer: Piazza San Marco. SHORT HISTORY By the 9th century, St. Mark’s Square was just a small free area in front of the St. Mark’s Basilica. It was to be enlarged to the present form only in 1177, when the two canals that interrupted it were filled. This change was made with the occasion of the visit of Pope Alexander III and Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, who met in Venice to sign a truce. In 1797, Venice was under French occupation, and the Procuratie Nuove building in San Marco Square became the residence of the Emperor Napoleon and his stepfather, Eugene de Beauharnais. Napoleon built a new wing, called Ala Napoleonica, facing towards Basilica di San Marco. The square was paved for the first time in the second part of the 12th century, and the Read more [...]
Where the Grand Canal is narrowing to slip carefully between San Polo and San Marco, the Venetians thought of building a bridge. And because they’ve been thinking about it for a while, at one point, they’ve done it – the Rialto Bridge. Ponte di Rialto is one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, the oldest one, at the same time, and if you will allow us, the most beautiful one. SHORT HISTORY The first bridge built in 1180 was a wooden bridge and was supported by boats. It was replaced twice in 1264 and 1310 by wood structures, and it collapsed twice, in 1444, during a festivity, under the weight of the crowd, and in 1521. All these were, practically, training for the stone bridge that was to be born between 1588 and 1591, under the supervision of an architect with an interesting name, Antonio da Ponte (ponte means bridge in italian). ARCHITECTURE The Rialto Bridge is a multi-arched stone bridge in which a number of jewelry and souvenir shops are now crammed. Two ramps climb to meet romantically under the portico at the top, where tourists have the talent to gather in a Read more [...]
The Church of San Zaccaria is a beautiful church in Venice, located in the sestiere (district) of Castello, in Campo San Zaccaria, not far from the St. Mark’s Square. The church is dedicated to Saint Zechariah, father of Saint John the Baptist. SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this place in 827 by Doge Giustiniano Partecipazio to accommodate the remains of San Zaccaria, who were donated by the Byzantine Emperor Leo V the Armenian to the city of Venice. An adjacent convent was built around the same time. In 1105, a terrible fire destroyed the ancient church and the convent, and it is said that more than a hundred nuns, who took refuge in the basement, died asphyxiated. The current church was started in 1444 by the architect Antonio Gambello, and completed after his death, in 1504, by the architect Mauro Codussi. The church was consecrated in 1543. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The superb facade of the church, in Istrian stone, is divided in style between the lower two orders, work of Gambello, in late-Gothic style, and the upper orders, by Codussi, in Renaissance style. The facade, with many mullioned windows, is dominated by a large arched Read more [...]
The Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli is a beautiful church in Venice, located in the sestiere of Cannaregio. SHORT HISTORY The church was built between 1481 and 1489, at the behest of the Lombard merchant Angelo Amadi, who desired a proper shrine for a painting depicting the Virgin, inherited from his uncle, Francesco Amadi. The painting, dating back to the beginning of the 15th century, was considered miraculous by the inhabitants of the area. The project was entrusted to the architect Pietro Lombardo who, with the help of his sons, Tullio and Antonio, designed and built this small church. One of the first Renaissance-style churches built in Venice, it was renovated during the 16th century, without changing its external appearance. In 1997, the church was the subject of a careful restoration, which allowed the locals and tourists alike to fully enjoy its artistic beauty. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade, divided into five sectors by pilasters, has two orders. The lower order, with Corinthian capitals, is architraved, while the upper one, in Ionic style, is composed of 5 blind arches. Above the facade, there is a large semicircular pediment, decorated with a rose window, 3 oculi and 2 Read more [...]
Palazzo Morosini Sagredo, also known as Ca’ Sagredo in the Venetian dialect, is a palace in Venice, located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, overlooking the Grand Canal between Palazzetto Foscari and Palazzo Giustinian Pesaro. SHORT HISTORY The palace was built starting with 1382, at the behest of the Morosini family, in particular at the will of Michele Morosini, Doge of Venice for a few months. At the beginning of the 18th century, the building was purchased by Gerardo Sagredo, relative of the more famous Nicolò Sagredo, the 105th Doge of Venice. Under the new ownership, the building was restored by the architect Andrea Tirali, who built the monumental staircase and had the attic decorated with stucco. The architect Tommaso Temanza also worked on the project. In 1913, the palace was sold by the Sagredo family, and later was restored to its former glory by the Superintendency of Fine Arts in Venice, being declared a National Monument. Today, Ca’ Sagredo is a 5-star hotel which features an impressive art collection. The hotel has 42 rooms and suites sumptuously decorated, and public areas which display masterpieces by famous Venetian artists of the past. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the Read more [...]
Palazzo Bembo is a palace in Venice, overlooking the Grand Canal, located in the San Marco district (sestiere), not far from the Rialto Bridge and next to Palazzo Dolfin Manin. SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Bembo was built in the 15th century by the Bembo family, by merging several Byzantine style buildings dating back to the 11th century. Over the centuries, the interior of the palace was remodeled several times, but it maintained its original external structure, except for the shape of the attic. Today, the palace houses the hotel Palazzo Bembo – Exclusive Accommodation and it is also an exhibition space of contemporary art. ARCHITECTURE The facade of Palazzo Bembo has a clear Venetian Gothic appearance, with its three levels of lancet windows. The polifora on the third floor, with the beautiful balustrade, stands out. The floors are separated by stone bas-relief frames. Inside, there is a 17th-century staircase overlooking the internal courtyard that leads to the main floor, where we can find decorations in Baroque style dating back to the same century. HOW TO GET THERE The closest vaporetto stop is Rialto, located about 50 meters away, on the waterbus Lines 1 and 2. To find the Read more [...]
Palazzo Ruzzini is a palace in Venice, overlooking the Grand Canal, located in the sestiere (district) of Cannaregio, near the Fondaco dei Tedeschi and the Rialto Bridge. SHORT HISTORY A fairly recent palace, Palazzo Ruzzini was built near the end of the 19th century on the site of the ancient Fondaco dei Persiani (Warehouse of the Persians), a building demolished in 1830. ARCHITECTURE The palace was built in neo-Renaissance style, with an extremely schematic facade characterized by the contrast between the color of the bricks and that of the Istrian stone that frames the openings. On the ground floor, there is a water portal flanked by two triple-light windows. On the second floor, there are six mullioned windows, and the coat of arms of the Ruzzini family, dating back to the second half of the 14th century. On the third floor, there is a four-light window in the center, divided by Corinthian columns, and four mullioned windows on the sides, all decorated with balustrades. The fourth floor is similar to the one below, the only difference being the triple-light window in the center. On the fifth floor, the attic, there are six rectangular windows and a recent coat Read more [...]
Fondaco dei Tedeschi is a large palace in Venice, located in the sestiere of San Marco, overlooking the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge. SHORT HISTORY Fondaco dei Tedeschi (Warehouse of the Germans) was built around the same time as the Fondaco dei Turchi (Warehouse of the Turks), in the first half of the 13th century. The palace was the landing point for goods brought by the German merchants from Nuremberg, Judenburg and Augsburg. The original palace was destroyed by a devastating fire on the night of January 28, 1505. Soon after, the Venetian Senate decided to rebuild it on a project by Girolamo Tedesco. The reconstruction took place between 1505 and 1508. The building was owned for a long time by the Italian Post Office. In 2008, the palace was purchased by the Benetton Group for an amount of 53 million euros, and was restored by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. The palace was converted into a shopping center and was opened to the public on October 1, 2016. ART AND ARCHITECTURE Fondaco dei Tedeschi is a large building with a square-plan and three levels around an internal courtyard, covered by a glass and steel structure. The Read more [...]
Palazzo Querini Papozze is a palace in Venice, located in the Cannaregio district (sestiere), overlooking the Grand Canal between Palazzo Correr Contarini Zorzi and Palazzo Emo a San Leonardo. SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in Byzantine style for the Querini family, who owned it until the 19th century. Later, the palace was renovated in Gothic and Renaissance styles, and was partially destroyed by a fire on October 21, 1815. ARCHITECTURE The palace is characterized by a large but simple and functional facade, with rectangular openings. The facade has 43 windows on four floors and three doors on the ground floor. The coat of arms of the Querini family on the facade is a recent copy. Of the ancient building, only a well remains in the courtyard and a porch overlooking the rear. Inside the courtyard, there is a large garden, which, among its peculiarities, has a bridge built during the 19th century. HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo Querini Papozze is located near the intersection of the Grand Canal with the Canale di Cannaregio. The closest vaporetto stop is Guglie, located about 250 meters away, on the waterbus Lines 4.1, 4.2, 5.1 and 5.2.
Palazzo Correr Contarini Zorzi is a magnificent palace in Venice, located in the sestiere of Canneregio, overlooking the Grand Canal between Palazzo Querini Papozze and Palazzo Gritti. The palace is also known as Ca’ dei Cuori (House of Hearts), given the presence of wrought iron heart decorations on the facade. SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Correr Contarini Zorzi was built in 1678 by the noble Correr family on the site of an ancient Gothic palace, of which only the corner columns survived. Later, the palace passed to the Soranzo, Zorzi and Contarini families. The roof terrace was added in the 20th century, when the palace was owned by the de Mombell family. ARCHITECTURE The palace has a majestic 17th-century facade overlooking the Grand Canal, characterized by the presence of two imposing monumental water portals, marked by arched heads and composed of a main opening surrounded by four quadrangular windows. There are two noble floors, of equal importance and with the same design. They are characterised by the presence of a mullioned three-light window with a small balcony, positioned to the left, flanked by other mullioned windows, which also continue on the side facades. Frames of Istrian stone highlight the symmetrical Read more [...]
The Church of San Simeone Piccolo, also known as Santi Simeone e Giuda (Saints Simon and Judas), is a church in Venice, overlooking the Grand Canal, located in the sestiere of Santa Croce, in front of the Santa Lucia railway station. SHORT HISTORY The original church was founded in the 9th century by the noble families of Adoldi and Briosi, and was consecrated on June 21, 1271. The ancient church probably had a basilica plan with three naves and was built parallel to the Grand Canal. In 1718, the rebuilding of the church began under the direction of the architect Giovanni Antonio Scalfarotto. The works were completed 20 years later, and the religious building was consecrated on April 27, 1738, being one of the last churches built in Venice. Today, the Church of San Simeone Piccolo is the only church in Venice where the Mass is celebrated in Latin. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church is modeled on the Pantheon of Rome, with a cylindrical body, a copper-clad dome and a Corinthian pronaos. The pronaos set against a circular plan is a solution already adopted in the twin churches of Piazza del Popolo in Rome. It is surmounted by Read more [...]
Hotel Patavium is a 3-Star hotel in Padua, located about 1.2 kilometers from the Scrovegni Chapel and about 1 kilometer from the Piazza dei Signori. The hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with satellite LCD TV, telephone and mini-bar. Some rooms come with wood floors or private terraces. Junior suites feature a hydromassage bath. The hotel has a private garden, where breakfast can be served. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. HOW TO GET THERE Hotel Patavium is located about 1 kilometer from the Padua railway station. The closest bus stop, Beato Pellegrino 105, is located right in front of the hotel, on the bus Lines U09 and U11.
Majestic Toscanelli is a 4-Star boutique hotel in Padua, located in the historical center of the city, about 200 meters away from the Piazza delle Erbe and the imposing Palazzo della Ragione. The hotel offers 34 rooms designed in various styles, with carpeted or hardwood floors. All rooms have free WiFi, air conditioning and a satellite TV. A generous and varied buffet breakfast is served daily. The guests of Majestic Toscanelli are allowed to take their car into the city’s restricted-traffic area. HOW TO GET THERE Majestic Toscanelli is located about 1.4 kilometers from the Padua railway station. The closest bus stop is in Piazza delle Erbe, about 140 meters away, on the bus Line U02. The closest tram stop is Livio, about 300 meters away, on the tram Line SIR1.
B&B Ai Carraresi is a bed and breakfast in Padua, located in the historical center of the city, about 400 meters from the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and about 750 meters from the square of Prato della Valle. All the rooms come with a seating area, a flat-screen TV and a shared bathroom with a hairdryer, bidet and bath or a shower. Free WiFi is featured throughout the property and the B&B also offers a shared lounge. An Italian breakfast is available every morning. HOW TO GET THERE B&B Ai Carraresi is located about 2.1 kilometers from the Padua railway station. The closest bus stop is Barbarigo 58, located about 180 meters away, on the bus Line U02.
Piazza della Frutta (Fruit Square), once called Piazza del Peronio, is a beautiful square in Padua, dominated by the imposing Palazzo della Ragione. Together with the nearby Piazza delle Erbe, Piazza della Frutta was, for centuries, the commercial center of the city. SHORT HISTORY The area was inhabited since pre-Roman times, as evidenced by numerous archaeological finds. According to some, it was a site of trade already during the Roman age, but owes its current conformation to a period between the 10th and 11th centuries. The square was occupied by numerous shops and stalls, selling all kinds of goods, especially vegetables and fruits. With the construction of the Palazzo della Ragione at the beginning of the 13th century, an attempt was made to arrange the various points of sale – under the hall, the sellers of fabrics and fur were installed, the vendors of poultry and game to the east, the sellers of fruits and vegetables to the west, while the removable stalls with leather were placed in the center of the square. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the medieval houses enclosing the square were renovated, with the rectification of the arcades. In the first half of the Read more [...]
Loggia del Consiglio is a beautiful Late Renaissance palace in Padua, located in the southwestern corner of Piazza dei Signori. Beginning with 1240, when the large hall of Palazzo della Ragione was destroyed in a fire, the city’s council met in the Loggia del Consiglio, hence the name of the building. The palace is also known as the Loggia della Gran Guardia, because it was used as a military commandment during the Austrian domination. SHORT HISTORY The elegant Mannerist building was designed by Annibale Maggi from Bassano, and built starting with the year 1496. The works proceeded slowly and were often interrupted by long pauses, of which the longest was after the Siege of Padua by the Roman Emperor Maximilian I, in 1509, during the War of the League of Cambrai. The work resumed in 1516 under the guidance of Biagio del Bigio from Ferrara, and later, starting with 1530, continued under the direction of the architect Giovanni Maria Falconetto. Faconetto, due also to his work on the Torre dell’Orologio, played an important role in the new configuration of the square. In 1866, the Loggia del Consiglio became part of the municipal patrimony, and was subsequently used for cultural Read more [...]
Torre dell’Orologio is a medieval clock tower in Padua, located between Palazzo del Capitanio and Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, in Piazza dei Signori. SHORT HISTORY The tower was built in the first half of the 14th century, as a fortified entrance to the Carrarese Royal Palace, owned by the noble family of da Carrara, Lords of Padua. However, its current appearance is due to the works began 1426 at the behest of the Captain Bartolomeo Morosini, concluded with the inauguration of the clock on the Feast of Saint Anthony from 1437. The astronomical clock that dominates the square is the oldest mechanism of its kind in the world. It is actually a reconstruction from 1436 of the clock built by Jacopo Dondi in 1344, and placed on the tower of the southern gate of the Carrarese Palace. The clock is the work of Matteo Novello and Giovanni and Gian Pietro delle Caldiere. In 1531, the nobleman Vitale Lando comissioned the large triumphal arch located at the base of the tower to the architect Giovanni Maria Falconetto. In June 2010, the monument undergone a careful restoration work that affected both the architectural structure of the tower and the mechanisms of the Read more [...]
Palazzo del Monte di Pietà is a medieval palace in Padua, located near the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, on the northern side of Piazza Duomo. SHORT HISTORY The palace was built between the 13th and 14th centuries, and it belonged to the famous moneylender Rinaldo Scrovegni. At the beginning of the 14th century, it was destroyed by a fire and subsequently abandoned. The palace was taken over by the noble family of da Carrara, and with the annexation of Padua by the Republic of Venice at the beginning of the 15th century, the building became the property of the Venetian government. A fire damaged much of the building in the first half of the 16th century. Doge Andrea Gritti, at the request of the bishop Pietro Barozzi, sold the palace for 10,000 ducats to the Monte di Pietà institution, founded by the Franciscans a few decades earlier to combat usury. The renovation of the facade was entrusted to the Veronese architect Giovanni Maria Falconetto, who redesigned the building on the basis of the six-arched loggia and the perimeter walls that survived the fire. The headquarters of the Monte di Pietà was inaugurated in 1533, while in the following Read more [...]
Piazza delle Erbe, also known in the past as Piazza delle Biade (Corn Square), Piazza del Vino (Wine Square) or Piazza della Giustizia (Justice Square), is a beautiful square in Padua, located in the historical center of the city. The square is dominated by the magnificent Palazzo della Ragione. SHORT HISTORY The area dates back to pre-Roman times, as evidenced by the numerous archaeological finds. Although the place was destined for trade since the imperial age, its current conformation dates back to a period between the 9th and the 11th centuries. After the construction of the Palazzo della Ragione at the beginning of the 13th century, the various shops were reorganized – under the portico of the palace, the sellers of fabrics and fur were installed, the sellers of wrought iron in the east of the square, the sellers of wine in the west, while the stalls with grains and leather were installed in the center of the square. The goldsmiths were located under the portico of the Palazzo del Podestà, built also in the 13th century in the eastern side of the square. In the 18th century, the arcades of the medieval houses located to the south of Read more [...]
Porta Liviana, known also as Porta di Pontecorvo, is a city gate in Padua, part of the Mura Cinquecentesche (16th Century Walls). The gate now appears detached from the walls and therefore presents itself as an isolated monument. Originally, the walls were linked to the sides of the gate, where today two semicircular niches can be seen. SHORT HISTORY The walls, also known as the Mura Veneziane, were built by the Venetian Republic during the first decades of the 16th century, as a project of the captain Bartolomeo d’Alviano. The walls were protected on its west flank by a canal known as the Fossa Bastioni. The construction of the Porta Liviana was begun immediately after the Siege of Padua from 1509, in the context of the War of the League of Cambrai. It was the first gate to be completed in 1517, and was probably based on a design by the Lugano architect Sebastiano Mariani. The gate was dedicated to Bartolomeo d’Alviano, who died on October 7, 1515. ARCHITECTURE The gate is actually a cube of 16 meters on each side, with the arches of the passage underlined, on the two opposing facades, by pilasters, entablature and tympanum Read more [...]
Palazzo Zacco al Prà is a beautiful palace in Padua, located on the western side of the square of Prato della Valle. SHORT HISTORY The construction of the building was begun on December 19, 1555, commissioned by Marco, an exponent of the Zacco family of Padua. The building was designed by Andrea Moroni, and probably incorporated some pre-existing buildings. The construction was completed in less than two years and, by 1557, the palace was already occupied by its owners. The Zacco family resided in the palace until the early 1800s. One of the last major events that took place in the palace was the stay of the Austrian Emperor Francis II of Habsburg and his wife, Carolina Augusta of Bavaria. On June 27, 1839, the last descendants of the historic owners sold the building to the Armenian Mekhitarist Congregation. Four years later, the palace became the Collegio Morat. Later, the property was taken over by the municipality of Padua, which in 1904 ceded it to the Italian state. Palazzo Zacco was declared a building of artistic interest on April 24, 1925. Occupied by various Military Commands, Palazzo Zacco became the Padua headquarters of the Officer’s Club of the Italian Read more [...]
Basilica of Santa Giustina, dedicated to Saint Justina of Padua, is an important Catholic church in Padua, located in the square of Prato della Valle. SHORT HISTORY In the 6th century, the praetorian prefect Venanzio Opilione built a basilica on the site of the tomb of Saint Justina of Padua, martyred in 304. The basilica, which in the meantime was flanked by an important Benedictine monastery, collapsed due to the earthquake of 1117. The church was rebuilt in the following years, reusing what remained of the previous construction. Between the 14th and the 16th centuries, the choir, the sacristy and the Chapel of San Luca were built. In this period, the adjacent monastery was also rebuilt. Starting with 1501, a new construction was begun on the project of Girolamo da Brescia. After abandoning the da Brescia project, the monks entrusted the work to Sebastiano da Lugano and then to Andrea Briosco. After the death of the latter, the direction of the work passed to Andrea Moroni and then to Andrea da Valle. The huge construction site lasted for more than a century. The basilica was solemnly consecrated on March 14, 1606. Following the Napoleonic ecclesiastical laws, the abbey was Read more [...]
Loggia Amulea is a neo-Gothic style palace in Padua, located on the western side of the beautiful square of Prato della Valle. SHORT HISTORY The Loggia takes its name from the cardinal Marco Antonio da Mula, known also as Amulio, who founded in Padua the Collegio Amulio and the Compagnia del Gran Nome di Dio, dedicated to the assistance of orphans. He owned a palace in Prato della Valle, which was destroyed by a fire in 1822. The Municipality of Padua then decided to built a new palace. Initially, the building was supposed to be divided into cafes, dance halls, game rooms, theaters, but later it was preferred to be used for military purpose. Around 1860, among the various competing projects, it was chosen the one presented by the architect Eugenio Maestri. The palace was the seat of the Padua fire brigade between 1906 and 1989. It currently houses some municipal offices. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The front of the building is characterized by an elegant loggia, a two-storey neo-Gothic structure which recovers medieval elements, especially in the use of architectural decorations in terracotta (architraves, tiles, pilasters). Between the lower arches of the loggia, there are the statues of Read more [...]
Casa Belfiore is a guesthouse in Vicenza, located outside the historical center of the city, about 1.5 kilometers from the Palladian Basilica. At the guesthouse, each room has a closet, and it features a private bathroom equipped with a shower and a hairdryer. The rooms have a flat-screen TV and air conditioning, and selected rooms are equipped with a seating area. The guesthouse provides accommodations with a garden and free WiFi throughout the property. HOW TO GET THERE Casa Belfiore is located about 2.4 kilometers from the Vicenza railway station. The closest bus stop is in Viale D’Alviano 77, about 180 meters away, on the bus Lines 3, 4, 127, 141 and 142.
Palazzo Scamozzi is a hotel in Vicenza, located in the elegant Palazzo Braghetta Pagello, along the city’s main street, Corso Andrea Palladio. The palace was built in 1780 by the Architect Ottavio Bertotti Scamozzi. After a very careful two-year-long renovation, the hotel is now equipped with 28 rooms. Every room comes with a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. The property provides a 24-hour front desk, room service and luggage storage for guests. Every morning, Palazzo Scamozzi offers a continental or buffet breakfast. HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo Scamozzi is located about 700 meters away from the Vicenza railway station. The closest bus stop is in Piazza Castello, about 120 meters away, on the bus Lines 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 17, 18, 101, 121, 123, 124, 125, 129, 133, 134 and 142.
Le Dimore del Conte represents a series of apartments in the historical center of Vicenza, in Piazza Castello, adjacent to Palazzo Porto. Le Dimore del Conte offers accommodations fitted with air conditioning, a fully equipped kitchen with a dining area, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with bidet, hairdryer and free toiletries. A microwave, a fridge and a stovetop are also offered, as well as an electric tea pot and a coffee machine. Free WiFi is available throughout the property and private parking is available on site. HOW TO GET THERE Le Dimore del Conte is located about 550 meters from the Vicenza railway station. The closest bus stop is in Piazza Castello, about 50 meters away, on the bus Lines 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 17, 18, 101, 121, 123, 124, 125, 129, 133, 134 and 142.
Torre Bissara, also known as Torre di Piazza, is a medieval tower in Vicenza, about 82 meters in height, located in Piazza dei Signori, adjacent to the famous Basilica Palladiana. SHORT HISTORY The tower was built in 1174, at the behest of the Bissari family, next to their palace. Between 1211 and 1229, the Municipality of Vicenza bought both the palace and the tower. After it was spared by the terrible earthquake of January 25, 1348, it was raised towards the middle of the 15th century to its current height. Over the centuries, there were numerous interventions to maintain the stability and beauty of the tower. On March 18, 1945, the tower, together with the Basilica Palladiana, was hit by an Anglo-American bombing. The top of the tower caught fire and the dome collapsed to the ground. The bells also fell, destroying the pavement of the square. In the following years, along with the Basilica, the tower was rebuilt, not without controversy concerning the form, partly different from the original one. In 2002, a radical restoration of the tower began. The intervention concerned the consolidation of the tower and the restoration of surfaces, friezes and decorations. ARCHITECTURE At Read more [...]
Palazzo Porto in Piazza Castello, also known as Porto Breganze, is a palace in Vicenza, located in Piazza Castello, designed around 1571 by the architect Andrea Palladio for Alessandro Porto. It is one of the two palaces designed by Palladio in Vicenza for the Porto family, the other being Palazzo Porto, for Iseppo Porto, in Contrà Porti, and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto. SHORT HISTORY Alessandro Porto inherited the family properties in Piazza Castello after the death of his father, Benedetto Porto, which took place in 1571. The family assets were divided between the brothers Alessandro, Orazio and Pompeo. Francesco Thiene, owner of the Palladian palace of the same name at the other end of Piazza Castello, married Isabella Porto, Alessandro’s sister, and a competition began between the two families for having the most imposing palace in the square. The palace was designed with seven bays and a courtyard with an exedra, as shown by an analysis of the surviving walls, but the works were stopped near the end of the 16th century and never resumed. The reasons remain unknown. Between October 2009 and the first Read more [...]
Corso Andrea Palladio is the main street of Vicenza, named in 1945 after the famous Renaissance architect. About 700 meters in lenght, it crosses the historical center of the city from west to east, respectively from Porta Castello to Piazza Giacomo Matteotti. SHORT HISTORY The current street corresponds substantially to what, in Roman times, was the decumanus maximus (the main road in a Roman city, oriented from west to east). Also called strata major, after the construction of the early medieval walls of the city, it was bordered to the west by the Porta Feliciana and to the east by the Porta San Pietro. During the Middle Ages, but also in modern times, Corso Palladio retained the function of linking the neighbouring cities of Veneto, respectively Verona and Padua. Near its edges, there were inns, taverns and, later, parking lots. In 1847, the historian Cesare Cantù called it the most elegant street in Europe, if you do not count the Grand Canal of the incomparable Venice. In 1866, after the annexation of Veneto to the Kingdom of Italy, the street was officially called Corso Principe Umberto. In 1943, the name was changed to Corso Ettore Muti and finally, after Read more [...]
Piazza dei Signori is the main square of Vicenza, located in the historical center of the city. Originally a Roman forum and then a market, the square is best known today for the Basilica Palladiana, the grandiose work of Andrea Palladio. The square has a rectangular shape and is delimited to the southwest by the Palladian Basilica and the Bissara Tower, while on the opposite side we can find the Loggia del Capitaniato and the Palazzo del Monte di Pietà, which incorporates the beautiful Church of San Vincenzo. SHORT HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE In antiquity, the area of Piazza dei Signori was the site of the Roman forum of Vicetia. Later, during the Middle Ages, the area was called Perònio, and was the center of the political, commercial and social life of the city. The oldest building in the square is the Bissara Tower (Torre Bissara), built in 1174 at the behest of the Bissara family, next to their palace. In the 13th century, the municipality of Vicenza bought both the palace and the tower. After escaping the terrible earthquake of January 25, 1348, the tower was raised around the middle of the 15th century, reaching its current height. Near Read more [...]
The Church of San Vincenzo is a beautiful church in Vicenza, located in Piazza dei Signori, in front of the Palladian Basilica, dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, the patron saint of the city. SHORT HISTORY After the Christian martyr Vincent of Saragossa was killed in 304 during the persecution of Christians under Diocletian, his cult spread rapidly throughout Europe, reaching Vicenza in the first centuries of the first millennium of our Era. In the second half of the 14th century, during the Scaligeri domination of the city, the cult of San Vincenzo was revived. The construction of a church dedicated to him was begun in 1385 and completed in 1387. During the 15th century, the church was rebuilt and its facade was oriented towards Piazza dei Signori. In 1486, a Monte di Pietà office was created in Vicenza by the Catholic Church, which established a pawnshop in the Church of San Vincenzo. Ten years later, the Monte di Pietà building collapsed and, in 1499, work began on a new building adjacent to the church, with the simultaneous renovation of the church itself. During the 16th century, the works were completed with the construction of the two wings of Read more [...]
The Church of Santa Maria in Foro is a church in Vicenza, located in Piazza Biade, a small square adjacent to Piazza dei Signori. The church is also called dei Servi, due to the fact that it was built by the Order of Friar Servants of Mary. SHORT HISTORY The church was built starting with 1404, the year in which Vicenza passed under the domination of the Republic of Venice. At the beginning of the 15th century, the Servite Order arrived in Vicenza and entrusted the construction of the church to the architect Giampietro Cirmisone, who completed the works in 1425. Some decorations were added between 1432 and 1435. The Servants of Mary lived in the adjacent convent until 1788, when the order was suppressed. Afterwards, the Municipality of Vicenza took care of the church until 1797, when the building became a military warehouse for the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1810, the parish of the Church of San Michele was transferred here, and the Church of Santa Maria in Foro was again open for worship. ARCHITECTURE The plain facade of the church is embellished by nine statues, two of which are attributed to the sculptor Orazio Marinali, Read more [...]